It’s been a long road through the Hollywood development process, but Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-gestating adaptation of Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City” is looking closer than ever to materializing. Hulu is officially moving forward with a television series based on the bestselling book, with Keanu Reeves on board to play the lead role and Scorsese and DiCaprio serving as executive producers. “Castle Rock” co-creator Sam Shaw will serve as showrunner, with Todd Field directing the series.
Hulu announced the news on Thursday as part of the Television Critics Association’s summer tour.
The series will star Reeves as Daniel H. Burnham, the legendary architect who served as a driving force behind the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The story follows Burnham and his determination to build a perfect exposition while Dr. H. H. Holmes, the world’s first modern serial killer, wreaks havoc on the city of Chicago. No casting for Holmes has been announced yet.
When DiCaprio first acquired the rights to “The Devil in the White City” in 2010, he originally conceived of the project as a feature film. The actor planned to play Burnham himself, with his frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese on board to direct the film. But scheduling conflicts and development difficulties ultimately delayed the project for long enough that it was retooled as a television series. Hulu has been developing the show since 2019.
“Devil in the White City” is the latest addition to a very full dance card for Reeves, Scorsese, and DiCaprio. Reeves has “John Wick: Chapter 4” opening in theaters next year, and “John Wick: Chapter 5” is already in pre-production. He is also turning his “BRZRKR” comic book into both a live-action film (that he’ll star in) and an anime series at Netflix. Scorsese and DiCaprio are gearing up to release “Killers of the Flower Moon” in 2023, and are already working on their next collaboration for Apple: “The Wager.” That film, also based on a book by David Grann, tells the dark story of a shipwreck in 1742. Scorsese is also attached to direct Jonah Hill in an upcoming Jerry Garcia biopic for Apple.